Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Lucky #7 for Katatonia?
The Great Cold Distance is the 7th studio album by Swedish metal band Katatonia released in 2006. Is it their lucky #7, the album that really gets these guys on top of the Swedish metal world? If a band lasts long enough to have seven studio releases, they should be very fortunate and blessed because not all bands last this long. If their previous album Viva Emptiness was a mature release, how does this one stand out? It may sound like an alternative metal album and that is going to make so many fans cringe at that very categorization. Or you might just agree that this album is very much an alternative kind of metal album.
A Special Comment About the Album's Title
The album’s title though is quite fascinating. It is a great album and there is real distance between their current style of sound and songwriting compared to the way that they sounded in their earlier years.
Leaders and My Twin Are Two Strong Early Songs
The guitar sound upon closer inspection and analysis is similar to the newer albums by In Flames. The beginning of this album is rather heavy with the chunky riff filled song called “Leaders” and this may be one of the band’s heavier songs since at least 1996. “My Twin” has this sort of guitar sound that will more than likely remind some of you of the late 2000s The Gathering. That 4th song may be one of those that you might like to sing along with as the song is about looking back at a social union in which the two people used to feel like they were twins but it feels that the relationship was all for nothing and that it was a total waste.
Katatonia Made the Right Decision to Change Their Musical Style
Katatonia shows that they can be soft and heavy at the same time. Katatonia have absolutely made the right decision to abandon their death and doom metal foundation in favor of a more progressive rock or alternative metal approach. There’s so many doom and death metal bands out there that these guys would have more than likely faced stiff competition trying to prove themselves as elites in Swedish metal.
Final Thoughts About The Great Cold Distance
The heaviness that we saw earlier on in the band’s career is only present in certain minor instances such as in the song “July” where there is a part in which one of the riffs sort of chugs along. But for the most part what is on this album can be described as dark yet beautiful melodic rock music (not AOR) that describes someone going through a variety of emotions. The very dark “Soil’s Song” is actually about expecting death because all of us will have to go through death at some point and be buried underneath the soil.
The Great Cold Distance may be the darkest release in the history of Katatonia not just because of the vocals but the overall feel of the album as well. It portrays lyrically a person that feels lost in their life and needs a better sense of direction. I look at this album as a very good mid-career heavy doom rock kind of album that also addresses where the band may have been at the time. That’s an assumption but for what it is worth, this 7th studio album by Katatonia may even help you get through your darkest days and times.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian